U.S. government appears set to keep land border closed past November

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The Biden administration announced Monday it plans to loosen air travel restrictions beginning in November. Currently, residents of 33 countries are unable to visit the U.S. including the European Union, England, China, South Africa and India, among others.

Visitors will be required to be fully vaccinated and have a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of their departure to the U.S. White House pandemic coordinator Jeffrey Zients said the changes do not apply to the land borders. That has politicians on the border seeing red.

“Another month brings another border extension. That means more unpredictability, suffering, and frustration for our border communities. It does not follow the science to say Canadians can fly from Vancouver to Seattle but cannot drive from British Columbia to Whatcom County. It is a disservice to families and businesses along the border that vaccinated Americans can travel north to Canada, but we have not reciprocated,” Congresswoman Suzan DelBene wrote in a release issued the same day.

“The Biden administration must take immediate steps to reopen the Canada-U.S. border to vaccinated Canadians.”

NY Congressman Brian Higgins was equally unsparing in his reaction: “Continued closure of the U.S. border to vaccinated Canadians is completely unnecessary and unexplained.

“It is welcome news that the White House is making progress on reciprocating international public health measures to protect air travelers. Yet it is inexplicable that no announcement on easing travel restrictions at land ports of entry is being made today since the livelihoods of communities across the Northern Border depend on cross-border commerce.”

The current U.S. restrictions were due to expire on Tuesday, September 21; however, these were extended until October 21 marking the 19th month of closure. Given that Zients said that travel over the land border would not be relaxed when air travel is in November, it seems likely that land restrictions will extend at least into November and probably longer than that.

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